A bathroom that mixes traditional and modern styles

Emma and David Jones’ new bathroom combines contemporary and traditional styles to create an elegant room in their Victorian home.

Emma JonesFact file

The owners: Emma Jones (pictured right), a physiotherapist, lives here with her husband David, a surgeon, and their daughter Sarah, five

‘When we moved into our new home, everything about the property appealed to us except the main bathroom, which felt dated and claustrophobic,’ recalls Emma. ‘Only a few weeks later, I’d already started planning a total transformation of the room when the bath started leaking on Christmas Day, moving the project higher up our list of priorities. Water began to drip on to the dining table below just as we were finishing our festive meal.’

The emergency plumber arrived and soon discovered that the leak had been caused by missing washers, which made Emma eager to forge ahead and give the bathroom the major overhaul she felt it deserved. ‘It was a beautiful space with high ceilings and lovely period features, but the shower wasn’t great and the décor was very heavy,’ Emma explains. ‘I couldn’t wait to update it for a modern new look.’

Even before the events of Christmas Day, Emma had been scouring the internet for bathroom inspiration. ‘The house has a very romantic feel and I wanted something that would be both complementary to the property and have a contemporary twist,’ she says. ‘I was after a practical layout with clean lines, as well as modern fittings that worked. I also felt that tiles would be a more hygienic option than the carpet.’

Emma spotted a stunning freestanding bath in a midnight blue shade on the Ripples website, and knew the style would give the room the wow-factor she was trying to achieve. Unsure of how to plan the room or what colours to choose, Emma approached her local Ripples franchise in Winchester, where senior designer Kerri Andrews came up with a variety of inspiring ideas.

‘It’s such a large room that we could be bold with the design and use all the space,’ says Kerri, who suggested placing the bath on a central plinth and building a stud wall behind it for impact. The original plan was to create a rectangular plinth, but Emma saw a curved one in a magazine and asked for a similar design. ‘It also made sense to move the WC and bidet to the other end of the bathroom, and we decided that a window seat would enhance the romantic feel of the room,’ Kerri adds.

Emma and Kerri both agreed that a large vanity unit with double basins would fit in perfectly with the generous proportions of the room. Two chrome towel rails on the rear wall, either side of the new stud wall, accentuate the space’s symmetrical feel.

One of Emma’s favourite features in the new bathroom is the stunning shower arc, complete with side jets, that curves over the walk-in shower area. Emma had originally seen it on the Ripples website but unfortunately it had since been discontinued. ‘We eventually managed to source the shower arc from Hansgrohe, and they kindly tracked one down for us in Germany,’ recalls Kerri.

When it came to choosing colours for the scheme, Emma had originally decided to use green, but when she opted to swap the existing oak fireplace for a smart new grey marble design, she changed her mind and decided that purple would create a more striking combination.

Once the fittings and the purple mosaic tiles had arrived, Murray Clash of Prestige Bathrooms was able to start work on the project, which took around three weeks to complete. First, he stripped out the old oak fireplace, wooden panelling and fittings, before work began on moving old pipes and installing new ones.

Following that, the exposed brick walls were re-plastered. A stud wall, with built-in niches, was erected in the centre of the room and new plasterboard carcasses were created to conceal the cistern for the WC and new pipes. Plasterboard was also used to build the curved plinth for the new bath and the window seat. The walls were then tiled and an electric mat for the underfloor heating was laid before the floor could be tiled and the fixtures and fittings installed.

‘Originally, we had budgeted around £12,000 for the entire project, but we had underestimated the cost of tiling such a large space,’ admits Emma. ‘There were also a few other unexpected costs, such as having to have the chimney swept so that we could actually use the fireplace.’

In general, however, Emma was impressed at how smoothly the project went. ‘There was a huge commitment from everyone involved, who worked tirelessly to make it perfect,’ she says.

Emma is much more at home in the bathroom now that it has been brought into the 21st century. ‘In the mornings, I thoroughly enjoy being able to choose between a luxurious bath or a refreshing shower,’ she says. ‘It’s a relaxing sanctuary where we can escape and unwind.’

The costs

Building work, including joinery, electrics and tiling£8,000
Shower arc£2,520
Mosaic tiles£2,211
Bath and freestanding tap£2,203
Basins and vanity unit£2,063
Floor tiles£1,245
Other fixtures and fittings£1,050
Towel rails£698
WC, cistern and bidet£633
Wall tiles£546
Mirror with integrated light£536
Wall units£421
Fabric for Roman blind, cushion and bolsters£196